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Counselor to the Secretary for Energy Policy

Vincent DeVito serves in the “newly created” position of Counselor to the Secretary for Energy Policy, a role in which he “advise[s] the Secretary, Deputy Secretary, Chief of Staff and Assistant Secretaries on all aspects of energy policy and ensure policy coordination among the nine bureaus with energy responsibilities within the Department.”

Vincent DeVito is a former George W. Bush administration official who has deep ties to the energy sector. He began his career “as a state energy regulator in Massachusetts” before working as the Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs at the Department of Energy in the George W. Bush administration. In 2005, he became president of International Energy Strategies, a “domestic and international energy law and consulting practice firm,” and, according to the company’s website, he is still the president.

Starting in 2007, DeVito worked at Pepper Hamilton LLP’s “energy practice,” which has represented a “consortium of major oil companies,” and a utility being sued “over the release of radiation from the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant explosion.” The firm also worked on “the sale of a Texas pipeline, the purchase of oil and gas rights in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, and the extraction and purification of methane gas from inactive coal mines.”

From 2008 to 2017, DeVito was a partner at law firm Bowditch & Dewey LLP, where he represented “corporations, investors, and entrepreneurs in the energy and technology sectors.” DeVito, who has been involved in Republican campaigns since at least 2000, was the treasurer of both Ryan Zinke and Scott Brown’s Political Action Committees, and was also the Massachusetts chair of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Sources: [Corbin Hiar, “Zinke creates energy policy post for former PAC treasurer,” Energy and Environment, 05/01/17, Department of Interior, Press Release, 05/01/17, “Vincent DeVito, Partner at Bowditch & Dewey LLP, Accepts Position with U.S. Department of the Interior,” Bowditch & Dewey, 06/08/17, Andrea Mihalescu, “Interview: Vincent DeVito,” United Press International, 08/22/05, “Vincent DeVito, President,” International Energy Strategies, accessed 06/08/17, Christine Caulfield, “Pepper Hamilton,” Law 360, 03/16/07, and Colin Young, “Baker attending Indiana ball as guest of Pence,” Salem News, 01/18/17]

Special Interests

Northeast Energy Solutions (Protecting Public Lands)

When DeVito worked at Bowditch & Dewey, he also represented Northeast Energy Solutions, a coalition of land trusts and other conservation groups, and on their behalf fought against proposed natural gas pipeline.

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also connected to:

Pepper Hamilton LLP (Resource Development on Public Lands)

DeVito worked at Pepper Hamilton's energy practice, which has represented oil companies and has worked on issues including the sale of a Texas pipeline, the purchase of oil and gas rights in Central Asia, and the extraction of methane gas.

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also connected to:

Bowditch & Dewey LLP (Resource Development on Public Lands)

DeVito worked as a partner at Bowditch & Dewey where he focused on the energy industry and represented corporations, investors, and entrepreneurs in the energy and technology sectors.

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also connected to:

International Energy Strategies (Resource Development on Public Lands)

DeVito was, and according to their website still is, the President of International Energy Strategies, a domestic and international energy law and consulting firm that concentrates on the development, regulation and financing of energy projects.

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also connected to:

HydroConfidence (Resource Development on Public Lands)

DeVito served as general counsel for HydroConfidence, a company that provides tools and services for the natural gas extraction industry.

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also connected to:

Eversource Energy (Resource Development on Public Lands)

According to his 2017 financial disclosure, DeVito was previously compensated by Eversource Energy, a public utility holding company that provides electric service to distributes natural gas.

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also connected to:

Western Energy Alliance (Resource Development on Public Lands)

DeVito spoke at the Western Energy Alliance's August 2017 annual meeting.

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American Petroleum Institute (Resource Development on Public Lands)

In mid-October 2017, DeVito "briefed" the American Petroleum Institute's Subcommittee on Exploration and Production Law on "the major DOI issues."

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Background Information

Previous Employers

Additional Background on Employers of Note:

Vincent DeVito, from 2001 to 2005, worked in the George W. Bush administration at the Department of Energy.

Vincent DeVito, a revolving door insider, worked for the George W. Bush administration in several senior roles, most prominently as Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy. While at the Department of Energy, he “oversaw the Climate Change Technology Program,” and “served as the U.S. manager of the North American Energy Working Group, a task force created to pursue the development of a fully integrated North American energy market.”

[LinkedIn Profile for Vincent DeVito, accessed 06/08/17, “Vincent DeVito, Partner at Bowditch & Dewey LLP, Accepts Position with U.S. Department of the Interior,” Bowditch & Dewey, 06/08/17, Dwight Shepard, “Cape Wind project in jeopardy as Northeast Utilities, National Grid terminate contracts,” Mass Live, 01/07/15, and Crunchbase Person Details for Vincent DeVito, accessed 06/13/17]

Vincent DeVito was the treasurer of both Ryan Zinke’s and Scott Brown’s Political Action Committees in the 2016 election cycle.

In the 2016 election cycle, Vincent DeVito was the treasurer of both Ryan Zinke’s Supporting Electing American Leaders PAC and Scott Brown’s New Hampshire for Scott Brown PAC.

[Corbin Hiar, “Zinke creates energy policy post for former PAC treasurer,” Energy and Environment, 05/01/17]

In 2007, Vincent DeVito worked at Pepper Hamilton LLP’s “energy practice,” which has represented a “consortium of major oil companies,” and a utility being sued “over the release of radiation from the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant explosion.”

The firm has also worked on “the sale of a Texas pipeline, the purchase of oil and gas rights in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, and the extraction and purification of methane gas from inactive coal mines.”

[Christine Caulfield, “Pepper Hamilton,” Law 360, 03/16/07]

From 2008 until 2017, Vincent DeVito was a partner at law firm Bowditch & Dewey LLP.

From 2008 until 2017, Vincent DeVito was a partner at law firm Bowditch & Dewey LLP where he represented “corporations, investors, and entrepreneurs in the energy and technology sectors.” Most recently at Bowditch & Dewey, DeVito represented “a coalition of land trusts and other environmental groups,” and fought on their behalf against the Northeast Energy Direct pipeline.

In 2015 and 2016, while still at Bowditch & Dewey, Vincent DeVito represented Northeast Energy Solutions, “a coalition of land trusts and other environmental groups,” and fought on their behalf against the Northeast Energy Direct pipeline, a proposed pipeline that would “pipe natural gas across New England.”

[Elana Schor, “Could Keystone Be America’s Last Pipeline?,” Politico, 01/10/15, Tom Relihan, “Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. responds to FERC questions,” Greenfield Recorder, 03/02/16, LinkedIn Profile for Vincent DeVito, accessed 06/08/17, Greg Ryan, “Boston lawyer tapped for Trump administration post,” Boston Business Journal, 05/01/17, and Grant Welker, “Bowditch & Dewey attorney gets federal post,” Worcester Business Journal, 05/01/17]

Vincent DeVito appears to be the President of International Energy Strategies (IES), a “domestic and international energy law and consulting practice firm,” a position he’s held since 2005.

IES “concentrates on the development, regulation and financing of energy projects.” According to International Energy Strategies’ website, DeVito is still the president.

[Andrea Mihalescu, “Interview: Vincent DeVito,” United Press International, 08/22/05, and “Vincent DeVito, President,” International Energy Strategies, accessed 06/08/17]

Political Connections

Vincent DeVito has donated over $10,000 to conservative politicians and Super PACs since 1999, including donations to his current employers Ryan Zinke and Donald Trump.

Vincent DeVito, since 1999, has donated $10,159 to conservative politicians and Super PACs, including $2,128 to Scott Brown, $550 to Ryan Zinke’s Supporting Electing American Leaders PAC in 2016, and $776 to Donald Trump in 2016.

[Political Moneyline Search for Vincent DeVito, CQ, accessed 06/08/17]

Current Activity

Vincent DeVito meets frequently with the American Petroleum Institute (API).

Interior Counselor for Energy Policy Vincent DeVito met with API’s Richard Ranger, Matt Haynie, and Carrie Domnitch of API on June 7, 2017, from 12:30pm to 1:00pm.

[OS-2017-001063 (Sage Grouse Comms from Industry), Page 468-470]

Interior Counselor for Energy Policy Vincent DeVito met with Andy Radford from API on June 20, 2017 from 1:00pm to 1:30pm.

[OS-2017-001063 (Sage Grouse Comms from Industry), Page 478]

Interior Counselor for Energy Policy Vincent DeVito met with Carrie Domnitch, Matt Haynie, and Holly Hopkins from API on June 27, 2017 from 11:00am to 11:30am.

[OS-2017-001063 (Sage Grouse Comms from Industry), Page 479, 480]

On July 24, 2017, Richard Ranger of API emailed Vincent DeVito and CCed Michael Nedd. The subject of the email was “API Letter Responding to S.O.3354 and BLM Future Planning Efforts and Project/Environmental Reviews.” The letter expressed API’s “support for the objectives of Secretarial Order 3354, dated July 7, 2017,” and was API’s response to “the invitation from the BLM to the public to provide input into the agency’s land use planning and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) processes.”

[OS-2017-001063 (Sage Grouse Comms from Industry), Page 146]

On June 28, 2017, Vincent DeVito emailed Andy Radford at API, saying “Is there a good time for me to call you today/tomorrow? Thanks.” Radford responded “Yes. Anytime after 9:30 today. Mostly free tomorrow before 11:00.” DeVito wrote back, “left you a vm. I am at 2022082884. Thanks.”

[OS-2017-001063 (Sage Grouse Comms from Industry), Page 28]

On September 27, 2017, Vincent DeVito emailed Holly Hopkins an email titled “Message.” DeVito wrote, “I returned your call. Your message was delayed in getting to me. Returning from Grand Forks this evening.”

[OS-2017-001063 (Sage Grouse Comms from Industry), Page 356]

On September 13, 2017, Vincent DeVito wrote in an email that he was “happy” to brief the American Petroleum Institute’s “Subcommittee on Exploration and Production Law,” a group made up of API’s “member companies’ Assistant General Counsels and others focused on exploration and production law.” According to the invitation, the group was “very interested in hearing from” DeVito “about the major DOI issues, and [to] discuss how industry can be most helpful to the Department and how you all achieve your goals.” DeVito appears to have briefed the group in mid-October 2017.

[OS-2017-001063 (Sage Grouse Comms from Industry), Pages 336-337]

After API met with Vincent DeVito and complained about BLM’s venting and flaring rule, months later the BLM announced a proposal to delay certain requirements contained in the venting and flaring rule.

On July 25, 2017, API officials requested a meeting Vincent DeVito, Katharine MacGregor, and Kathleen Benedetto to discuss API’s concerns about BLM’s venting and flaring rule, which API believed, “exceeded BLM’s authority.” API met with these top Interior officials, and after the meeting, API’s Carrie Domnitch emailed Vincent DeVito, thanking him for the “good discussion” and saying that API would “follow-up with Kathy and BLM staff on next steps.” On October 4, 2017, BLM announced a proposal to delay certain requirements contained in the Venting and Flaring Rule until January 17, 2019, as they had “found that some parts of the 2016 final rule appear to be unnecessarily burdensome on industry.”

[OS-2017-001063 (Sage Grouse Comms from Industry), Pages 154, 496, 221, 613]

Vincent DeVito also helped the Independent Petroleum Association of America delay an Endangered Species listing for the Texas hornshell mussel.

On July 11 and 12, 2017, IPAA Director of Government Relations Samantha McDonald emailed Counselor for Energy Policy Vincent DeVito and Deputy Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Greg Sheehan, saying that IPAA “strongly oppose[d] the listing” of the Texas hornshell mussel “under the ESA as endangered, or threatened.” The Fish and Wildlife Service had been scheduled to issue an Endangered Species Act listing decision for the Texas hornshell mussel in August 2017. McDonald told DeVito that IPAA was “really hoping” he could “intervene” before the species was listed. On July 25 and August 1, McDonald sent emails to Sheehan thanking him for “looking into” the Hornshell issue. On August 10, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service delayed “a listing decision on the Texas hornshell for six months.” On August 17, McDonald emailed DeVito and Sheehan, thanking them for the “good call” to delay the decision, and saying that IPAA members were “most grateful.”

[OS-2017-001063 (Sage Grouse Comms from Industry), Pages 83-84, 104, 170, 205, 274, Daniel J. Chacón, “Feds put off decision on Texas hornshell’s status,” The New Mexican, 08/10/17; Adrian Hedden, “Blight on the banks: Officials hope saving a rare mussel could restore the Black River,” Carlsbad Current-Argus, 11/26/17]

Independent Petroleum Association of America has also reached out to Vincent DeVito asking him to get the American Burying Beetle off the endangered species list.

In September 2017, the Independent Petroleum Association of America sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in a lawsuit designed to push the American Burying Beetle “off the endangered species list.” Before the IPAA filed the lawsuit, IPAA Director of Government Relations Samantha McDonald emailed Greg Sheehan, Vincent DeVito, and Tim Williams “as a courtesy” to inform them that IPAA would be suing. She sent Vincent DeVito briefing materials on the issue and at one point thanking him for his “interest and attention to this species.” After sending DeVito a letter from the CEO of an Oklahoma oil and gas company, DeVito asked to be put in touch with the CEO, and the two had a phone conversation. The case is ongoing.

[Adam Wilmoth, “Oil association sues government over endangered beetle,” The Oklahoman, 09/22/17; “Oil and gas groups sue over beetle protections,” Energy & Environment, 09/21/17; OS-2017-001063 (Sage Grouse Comms from Industry), Pages 205-206, 207, 209, 213- 214, 215-216; 246 and 288; American Stewards of Liberty et. al. v. Department of the Interior et. al., Case No. 6:2017-cv-00352]

Western Energy Alliance has lobbied Vincent DeVito to transfer oil and gas oversight authority from BLM to the states.

In August 2017, Western Energy Alliance submitted letters on BLM Reform and FWS Reform. The focus of the BLM letter was to transfer oil and gas oversight authority from BLM to the states while WEA highlighted “three main areas for reform at FWS: the ESA and conservation agreements, mitigation and climate change policies, and MBTA implementation.” On September 12, 2017, WEA President Kathleen Sgamma met with Vincent DeVito and told him that WEA “really appreciate[d] the direction the Department is headed in.” She also indicated that “[w]e’ll work up a comprehensive briefing paper on the federal nexus and delegation of primacy ideas we discussed and get that to you as soon as they’re ready.”

[OS-2017-001063 (Sage Grouse Comms from Industry), Page 248, 250, 315-323, 341]

After sending Vincent DeVito and other Interior staff a letter explaining their requests, Western Energy Alliance had many of their requests on the sage grouse review granted in the final report.

On July 19, 2017, Tripp Parks, Western Energy Alliance’s Manager of Government Affairs, emailed members of Interior’s sage grouse review team, including Vincent DeVito, a letter “regarding the economic impacts of the Greater Sage-Grouse land use plans.” The letter has been described as “an industry wish list,” and the sage grouse review team granted 13 of WEA’s 15 requests.

[OS-2017-001063 (Sage Grouse Comms from Industry), Pages 108 – 112; Jayson O’Neill, “Western Values Project opens investigation in response to leaked document revealing industry influence of Interior’s sage-grouse review,” Western Values Project, 08/21/17]

Financials

Financial Disclosure

[Office of Government Ethics]

Department of the Interior Salary: $179,700

[Vincent DeVito, ProPublica’s Trump Town, accessed 03/14/18]

Other Information

Vincent DeVito has been involved in many high-profile Republican campaigns, including working on the 2000 Bush campaign, Scott Brown’s 2012 campaign attorney, and the Massachusetts chair of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Vincent DeVito was “active in the 2000 Bush-Cheney campaign.”

[“Secretary of Energy Announces Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs,” P.R. Newswire, 12/15/03]

Vincent DeVito was Scott Brown’s campaign attorney in his 2012 race for the Massachusetts Senate.

[Robert Rizzuto, “Absentee ballots spark debate,” The Republican, 09/26/12]

Vincent DeVito was the Massachusetts chair of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

[Colin Young, “Baker attending Indiana ball as guest of Pence,” Salem News, 01/18/17]

Vincent DeVito is a legal advisor to the American Patent Agency.

[“Vincent DeVito,” American Patent Agency, accessed 06/08/17]

In 2007, he said that the “‘beauty'” of cap and trade was that it was a “‘business opportunity that [was] also a moral obligation.”

[Matthew Hennessey, “Cap and Trade vs. Carbon Tax,” Carnegie Council, 11/10/07]

Vincent DeVito, who has “significant experience representing Super PACS,” served as legal counsel for a super PAC that “may have violated campaign finance law” in Missouri “by spending ‘money on a state-level race without filing reports.'”

This super PAC, called Patriots for America, “attacked Eric Greitens — now Missouri’s governor” with mailers and digital ads during the 2016 GOP primary. This matter was “looked into” by the FEC and the Missouri Ethics Commission, but dismissed.

[“Vincent DeVito,” Bowditch & Dewey, accessed via the Wayback Machine from 09/04/16 and Theodoric Meyer, “Hank Greenberg’s firm lobbying on financial reform,” Politico, 05/02/17]

Vincent DeVito was the general counsel for HydroConfidence, a Marcellus Shale company which pledged to “help maximize gas production” for the natural gas extraction industry.

HydroConfidence promised to “provide the natural gas extraction industry with an offering of tools and services to help maximize gas production while minimizing environmental impact.”

[“B&D Partner Vincent DeVito assists startup “fracking” company,” Bowditch & Dewey news, 12/12/11 and “HydroConfidence,” American Pioneer Ventures, accessed 06/22/17]

“The Marcellus Shale stampede is creating an entrepreneurial rebirth” and HydroConfidence is “dedicated to improving the productivity of the shale gas industry while reducing its environmental impact.”

[“CEE Graduate Student, Dan Hussain, Tackles Shale Gas and Watershed Issues With New Entrepreneurial Tech Startup,” Carnegie Mellon University, 2011]